How do I get started with a collaborative divorce?

How is a collaborative divorce different from a conventional divorce?

What is the cost of a collaborative divorce?

How does collaborative divorce help for the long-term?

How does collaborative divorce minimize the hostility and anger of most divorces?

What’s the difference between collaborative divorce and mediation?

Is collaborative divorce faster than a court divorce?

 

How do I get started with a collaborative divorce?

Your first step is to share information on collaborative divorce with your spouse. Share this website and review information online about collaborative divorces.

If you are interested in a collaborative divorce, here are the steps you will follow.

  1. Both spouses will select a separate attorney from the list of collaborative lawyers. Call and arrange an informational meeting with your individual attorney to help decide if the collaborative divorce process suits you and your spouse.
  2. Both spouses and your attorneys will attend a first collaborative meeting to sign a participation agreement that governs the process.
  3. Each of you will meet individually with your respective attorneys and divorce coaches to identify and discuss issues important to your situation.
  4. You will develop a plan for proceeding through the dissolution of your marriage. The plan may involve meeting with your divorce coach for emotional support; review of your financial information by a financial professional and development of a parenting plan to best serve your children.
  5. You will attend subsequent collaborative negotiations until you reach an agreement.
  6. Your Agreement is adopted into a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage in a short, non-adversarial, 10-minute hearing with a Judge.
  7. Mediation may also be used to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. The process is flexible and can be specifically tailored to meet your individual case.

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How is a collaborative divorce different from a conventional divorce?

There are distinct differences. In a conventional divorce, parties rely upon the court system and judges to resolve their disputes. This sets up parties to view each other as adversaries, and emotions intensify.

Conventional or court divorces have the potential for high cost – both emotional and financial. Parties may end up paying for multiple experts, depositions, and extensive discovery.

A collaborative divorce is by definition a non-adversarial approach. Your lawyers pledge, in writing, not to go to court. They negotiate in good faith and work together with you to reduce costs and achieve mutual settlement outside the courts. Collaborative divorce helps to ease the emotions of a breakup and protects the well being of children.

Collaborative divorce can also be kept more private than divorce in open court. Court files are public record. By keeping your divorce out of court, both of you can work together to keep many details regarding your finances and personal concerns discreet.

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What is the cost of a collaborative divorce?

The total cost of hiring a collaborative divorce team is often less than the cost of hiring two lawyers to litigate a divorce. With no court appearances and little paperwork, actual costs depend on how long it takes to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.

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How does collaborative divorce help for the long-term?

Divorce is both an ending and a beginning. As a more respectful, dignified process, a collaborative divorce helps supports your family and your children to make a smoother transition to the next stage of your lives.

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How does collaborative divorce minimize the hostility and anger of most divorces?

Respect is the guiding principle of collaborative divorce, along with compassion, understanding and cooperation. Collaborative professionals are trained in non-confrontational negotiation and work to keep discussions productive and centered on areas of agreement, not disagreement.

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What’s the difference between collaborative divorce and mediation?

In mediation, the parties meet with a mediator and their attorneys on a date convenient to everyone. The mediator goes back and forth between the parties trying to settle the case. The mediator cannot give either party legal advice or be an advocate for either side. If the case does not settle at the end of the day, then the parties proceed to get ready for trial. Although each party is required to submit a financial affidavit prior to mediation, there are no assurances that the other party has fully disclosed assets.

Collaborative divorce is a negotiation process with the settlement as the top priority. The lawyers, who are trained in collaboration and may also be trained in mediation, work with their clients, one another, and trained professionals to assure a balanced process that’s positive and productive. When there is agreement, a document is drafted by the lawyers and reviewed and edited by both spouses until everyone is satisfied.

Collaborative divorce assures each party of free exchange of information and a commitment to resolution. When there is agreement, a document is drafted by the lawyers and reviewed and edited by both spouses until everyone is satisfied.

Both collaborative divorce and mediation rely on voluntary, free exchange of information and a commitment to resolution.

If mediation doesn’t result in a settlement, you may choose to use your counsel in litigation, if this is what you and your lawyer have agreed upon. In collaborative divorce, the lawyers and parties sign an agreement aligning everyone’s interests in resolution. The agreement states that the collaborative attorneys and other professional team members are disqualified from participating in litigation if the collaborative process ends without an agreement. This rarely occurs.

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Is collaborative divorce faster than a court divorce?

Every situation is different and determines how quickly your divorce process proceeds. Collaborative divorce, however, can be more direct and efficient. By focusing on problem-solving—instead of blame and grievances—there’s an opportunity for respectful results. Full disclosure and open communications assure that you cover all the issues in a timely manner.

Likewise, if there are personal reasons for having a longer period of time for the process, collaborative has the flexibility to allow you to set your own pace.

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